A case Of Identity

Yüklə 88,14 Kb.
Pdf görüntüsü
ölçüsü88,14 Kb.
  1   2
arthur-conan-doyle-a case of identity


'My dear fellow,' said Sherlock Holmes as we sat by the fire in his house at

Baker  Street,  'real  life  is  infinitely  stranger  than  anything  we  could  invent.  We

would not dare invent things, which are commonplace things of life. If we could

go out of that window, fly over this great city, gently remove the roofs of houses

and look at the peculiar things that are happening, the strange coincidences, the

plans, and the wonderful chains of events, we would discover things much more

interesting than in books.'

'But  I  do  not  believe  it,'  I  answered.  'The  stories  in  the  newspapers  are

never very interesting. In fact, they are always very boring.'

'That  is  because,'  said  Holmes,  'newspapers  always  repeat  the  official

reports of magistrates and police reports. Yon can be certain that there is nothing

as unnatural and strange as the commonplace.'

'I  know,'  I  replied,  'that  your  cases  are  always  very  interesting,  but  let  us

look at today's newspaper,'

I  picked  up  the  newspaper  and  began  to  read  an  article.  It  was  about  a

husband who was cruel to his wife.

'I  don't  have  to  read  the  article,'  I  said,  'but  I  am  sure  that  the  man  had  a

girlfriend,  that  he  drank  and  that  he  began  to  hit  his  wife.  I  am  also  sure  that

there was a sympathetic sister or landlady.'

'You  have  chosen  a  bad  example,  Watson,'  said  Holmes,  'because  I  have

worked on this case. The man, Mr Dundas, did not have a girlfriend and he did

not drink and he did not hit her. Instead, at the end of every meal he took out his

false teeth and threw them at his wife. You must admit that nobody could invent

such a story!'

'Do you have any interesting cases now?' I asked.

'Well,  I  am  working  on  ten  or  twelve  cases,  but  none  of  them  are

interesting. They are important, you understand, without being interesting. I have

found  that  unimportant  matters  are  usually  more  interesting.  If  there  is  a  big

crime,  the  motive  is  generally  obvious.  So,  they  are  generally  not  very

interesting. But I think I will have an interesting case in a few minutes.'

Holmes  was  standing  at  the  window  and  looking  down  at  the  dull,  grey

London streets. There was a woman standing in the street. She was moving her

hands nervously. It was obvious that she could not make up her mind.

Then suddenly she ran across the road and rang Holmes' doorbell.

'I know those symptoms,' said Holmes. 'When a woman hesitates like that

on the pavement, it means that she has a love problem. She wants help, but she

thinks that her problem is too delicate to communicate. But when a woman does

not hesitate and rings the doorbell hard, it means she was seriously wronged. In

this case, this woman is confused and perplexed, and wants an explanation.' As

Holmes was speaking, the servant announced Miss Mary Sutherland, she was a

large  woman.  She  wore  a  hat  with  a  red  feather,  a  black  jacket,  a  dark  brown

dress and grey glove.

She also wore round gold earrings.

When Holmes saw her he said, 'Isn't it difficult for you to type with such

bad eyesight.'

'I thought so at first,' Miss Sutherland replied, 'but now I can type without

looking  at  the  keys.'  Then  she  looked  surprised  and  frightened  when  she

understood that Holmes already knew so much about her.

'How do you know that?' asked Miss Sutherland.

'It is my business to know things,' said Holmes laughing. 'If I could not see

these things, why would people come to me? In any case, I can see the marks of

the glasses on your nose.'

'I  have  come  here,'  she  said,  'because  I  want  to  know  where  Mr  Hosmer

Angel has gone.'

'Why did you come here in such a hurry?' asked Holmes.

Once again Miss Sutherland looked very surprised. Holmes then explained

that her boots were not the same and that they were not completely buttoned.

'Yes,  I  did  hurry  out  of  the  house  because  I  was  angry  at  Mr  Windibank,

that is, my father. He did not want to ask the police about Mr Angel. He said that

nothing bad had happened. This made me angry so I came here to see you.'

'Your  father?'  said  Holmes.  'He  must  be  your  stepfather  because  his

surname is different from yours.'

'Yes,  my  stepfather.  I  call  him  father,  even  though  that  seems  strange  to

me. You see, he is only five years older than me.'

'And is your mother alive?' asked Holmes.

'Oh,  yes,  mother  is  alive  and  well,'  answered  Miss  Sutherland,  'but  I  was

not happy when she married Mr Windibank so soon after father died. Also, Mr

Windibank is fifteen years younger than mother. Father was a plumber and had a

good business, and when he died mother continued the business. But when she

married Mr Windibank, he made her sell it.'

'Do you live on the money from the business?' asked Holmes.

'Oh no,' replied Miss Sutherland, 'I inherited some money from my uncle. I

cannot touch it, but with the interest I receive one hundred pounds a year.'

'That should be enough for you to live quite comfortably,' said Holmes.

'I give that money to mother, and I live on the money I make typing,' she


'Now, can you tell us about Mr Hosmer Angel?' asked Holmes.

Miss Sutherland blushed deeply and said, 'I met him at the plumbers' ball.

They used to send tickets to my father when he was alive, and after he died they

sent them to my mother. But Mr Windibank didn't want us to go. He said that my

father's  friends  were  not  good  enough  for  us.  But  the  day  of  the  ball,  Mr

Windibank went to France on business, so mother and I went to the hall, and it

was there I met Mr Angel.'

'I  suppose,'  said  Holmes,  'that  Mr  Windibank  was  very  angry  with  you

when he discovered that you had gone to the ball.'

'No,  not  very,'  replied  Miss  Sutherland,  'he  said  that  it  was  impossible  to

stop a woman when she really wanted something.'

'And did you see Mr Hosmer after the ball?' asked Holmes.

'Yes, but he couldn't come to the house when father was there. Father didn't

want anybody to come to the house. So Mr Hosmer said, "We should wait until

your  father  goes  to  France  before  we  see  each  other.  In  the  meantime,  we  can

write to each other every day.'"

'Were you engaged to the gentleman at this time?' asked Holmes.

'Oh  yes,  Mr  Holmes.  We  were  engaged  after  the  first  walk  that  we  took.

Mr Angel worked in an office in Leadenhall Street.'

'Which office?'

'That's the worst part. I don't know.'

'Then where did you send your letters?'

'To  the  Leadenhall  Street  Post  Office  where  he  got  them.  He  said  to  me,

"The other workers in my office will make fun of me, if they see my letters.'"

'I  told  him  that  I  could  type  my  letters,  like  he  did  his.  But  he  said,  "A

typed letter comes from an impersonal machine and not from you." This shows

how fond he was of me, Mr Holmes, and the nice little things he thought of.'

'It  was  most  suggestive,'  said  Holmes.  'I  have  always  said  that  the  little

things  are  infinitely  the  most  important.  Can  you  remember  any  other  little

things about Mr Hosmer Angel?'

'He was a very shy man, Mr Holmes. He always wanted to walk with me in

the evening instead of during the day. He was very gentlemanly. Even his voice

was  gentle.  He  told  me  that  he  had  had  a  bad  infection  of  the  tonsils  when  he

was a child, so he had to whisper. He always wore elegant clothes. His eyes were

weak, just like mine, and he wore dark glasses against the sun.'

'Well,  what  happened  when  Mr  Windibank  returned  to  France?'  asked


'Mr  Angel  came  to  my  house  and  said  that  we  should  get  married  before

father returned. He was very serious and said, "Put your hand on the Bible and

promise  me  that  you  will  always  love  me."  Mother  agreed  with  him.  Mother

liked  him  from  the  beginning,  and  liked  him  even  more  than  I  did.  When  they

started  talking  about  our  getting  married  within  the  week,  I  asked  them  if  I

should ask father first. They said no. I, however, did not want to do anything in

secret, so I wrote to father at his office in France. But the letter came back to me

on the very day of the wedding.'

'It missed him then?'

'Yes,  sir,  he  had  started  back  to  England  just  before  the  letter  arrived  in


'Ha! That was unfortunate. Your wedding was planned then for the Friday

of that week. Was it to be in church?'

'Yes,  sir,  but  very  quietly.  On  the  day  of  the  wedding  Hosmer  came  in  a

hansom  to  take  mother  and  me  to  the  church.  But  since  there  were  two  of  us,

mother and I went in the hansom, and Hosmer took a cab. We got to the church

first, and when the cab arrived, we waited for him to come out, but he never did.

The cabman said that he could not understand what had happened to him.'

'I think that you have been very badly treated,' said Holmes.

'Oh no, sir! Hosmer was too good and kind to leave so. Why, all morning

before the wedding he said to me, "If anything happens to me, you must always

love me. You must wait for me. I will return to you." I thought this very strange

to say on the day of our wedding, but his disappearance explains everything.'

'It certainly does,' said Holmes. 'In your opinion, did he know that he was

in danger?'

'Yes, I think so.'

'But do you know what the danger was?'

'No, I don't.'

'One more question. How did your mother react?'

'She was angry and told me that I should never speak about him again.'

'And your father? Did you tell him?'

'Yes,  he  said,  "Something  terrible  has  happened  to  Hosmer,  but  he  will

return."  I  agree  with  my  father.  Why  would  Hosmer  leave  me?  After  all,  there

was no money involved. 1 Hosmer did not borrow money from me, and I never

put the money which I had inherited in his name. So he did not take my money

and leave.'

Then she pulled out a handkerchief, and began to cry.

'I  will  try  to  solve  your  problem,'  said  Holmes,  'but  don't  think  about  it

anymore. Forget about Mr Angel.'

'Do you think that I will ever see him again?'

'No, I'm afraid not.'

'Then what has happened to him?'

'You  will  leave  the  question  with  me.  Now,  I  need  some  of  Mr  Angel's

letters, a good description of him, and also your father's address.'

'I  never  had  Mr  Angel's  address,'  said  Miss  Sutherland,  'but  here  is  Mr

Windibank's  address.  He  works  for  a  wine  importer.  Here  is  the  advertisement

with a description of Hosmer that I put in the newspaper the Chronicle.'

Miss Sutherland then left, but before leaving she said, 'I will always wait

for Hosmer Angel to return.'

Yüklə 88,14 Kb.

Dostları ilə paylaş:
  1   2

Verilənlər bazası müəlliflik hüququ ilə müdafiə olunur ©www.azkurs.org 2022
rəhbərliyinə müraciət

    Ana səhifə